Anti-inflammatory Foods

Anti-inflammatory foods are good for all of us and may help prevent pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH).   The idea is to eat enough of the anti-inflammatory foods each day to offset the inflammatory foods that you may consume. It doesn’t mean that you can’t ingest some inflammatory foods; You just want to maintain a healthy balance. Many physicians and others believe that inflammation is the root cause of disease.

antiinflam2Examples of Anti-inflammatory Foods:

  • Almonds, walnuts, pistachios
  • Sweet potatoes, winter squash
  • Garlic, ginger, turmeric
  • Parsley, oregano, thyme
  • Blueberries, apples, avocados
  • Cayenne, chili peppers

Some general tips:

  • Eat fresh – avoid processed foods
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables – less fat and carbohydrates
  • Drink green tea instead of coffee
  • Drink more water
  • Reduce animal proteins except for fish – eat more beans

IF Ratings predict  how various foods and combinations of foods are likely to affect inflammation in the body. The larger the number, the stronger the effect.

Foods with positive IF Ratings support the body’s anti-inflammatory processes. Foods with negative ratings may contribute to inflammation, especially when consumed in excessive quantities.  Keep in mind that the IF Rating is dependent on serving size. The recipes below give IF ratings.


Sweet Potato and Rosemary Salad

Serves 4 If Rating (per serving): +289

Try serving this colorful salad at your next picnic or barbecue for a welcome change from standard potato salad. 

2 tablespoons raisins or currants
1/2 cup hot water
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1/4 cup sliced almonds

1. Pierce with a fork and bake sweet potatoes at 400 degrees until soft, about 45 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel and cube.
2. Soak raisins or currents in hot water for ten minutes and drain well.
3. Combine potatoes, red pepper, onion, parsley, zest and raisins or currants in large bowl.
4. Combine juice and rosemary in small bowl. Add oil in a thin stream, whisking briskly. Pour over potato mixture and toss gently to coat.
5. Toast almonds in dry skillet over medium heat until just toasted, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle over salad.

Roasted Eggplant Dip

Serves 6 IF Rating (per serving):  +111

If you find the raw garlic too sharp in flavor, try roasting the unpeeled garlic cloves in a foil packet along with the eggplant. With a sharp knife, cut the tips off of the roasted cloves and squeeze to extract the roasted garlic paste.

2 small eggplants
2 (or more) cloves garlic, roasted if desired
2 T olive oil
6 black olives, pitted
1/2 cup (packed) fresh parsley leaves, chopped
3 pieces sun-dried tomato
2 cups cannellini (white kidney) beans, cooked and drained
2 anchovy fillets (or 2 teaspoons anchovy paste), optional
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1. Roast the eggplant (and garlic, if desired) in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes, or until tender. Allow to cool briefly.

  1. Peel eggplant and garlic and place in bowl of food processor. Add olive oil, pitted black olives, parsley, sun-dried tomatoes, beans, anchovy fillets, lemon juice, and salt. Pulse mixture until smooth. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve warm or cold.


Spicy Curried Carrot Soup

Serves 2 IF Rating (per serving): +246

This soup has a complex flavor profile but is very simple to make, with ingredients that you are likely to have on hand.  Look for dried chili peppers in the fresh produce section of the grocery store.

2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut in large slices
5 cups chicken stock
1 dried hot chili pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1. Combine all ingredients except cilantro in a large saucepan or soup pot. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, until carrots are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove chili pepper and discard.

  1. Transfer mixture to a food processor or blender, 2 to 3 cups at a time. Puree until smooth.
  2. Return to soup pot and heat to serving temperature. Stir in cilantro immediately before serving.


Asian Broccoli and Ginger Salad

Serves 4 IF Rating (per serving):  +266

This salad will have the brightest color and flavor if the broccoli is cooked until just tender-crisp, but still bright green. Blanching the broccoli in cold water assures that it does not get mushy.

12 almonds, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger root
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 clove garlic, minced
4 cups broccoli florets
3 scallions, thinly sliced


  1. Using steamer basket, steam broccoli over boiling water until just tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Run broccoli under cool water to stop cooking and drain.
  2. Heat medium skillet over medium heat. Add almonds and 1/2 teaspoon of oil to hot pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until nuts are just toasted, 3 to 4 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons of soy sauce and stir until coated. Remove from heat and cool.
  3. Whisk together juice, vinegar, ginger, zest, pepper, remaining soy sauce, and garlic in medium bowl. Add remaining oil to liquid in a thin stream, whisking briskly.
  4. Add broccoli and scallions to dressing and toss to coat. Sprinkle with toasted nuts.


Grilled Mahi-mahi with Mango Salsa

Serves 4 IF Rating (per serving): +323

Mango salsa makes a luscious accompaniment to a simple grilled or broiled fish. If fresh mangoes are not available, you can use mangoes from a jar, although there is some loss of nutrients and flavor.

4 mahi mahi steaks (about 6 ounces each)
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 mangoes, peeled, seeded, and diced (2 cups)
2 cups diced tomatoes
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/3 cup (packed) fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated lime zest
Salt, to taste

1. Place fish in shallow dish. Place 1/2 cup lime juice in a small bowl and add oil in thin stream, whisking briskly. Pour over fish, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

  1. Combine mangoes, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, remaining lime juice, ginger, pepper, zest, and salt in medium bowl. Set aside for ten minutes to allow flavors to mingle.
  2. Grill or broil mahi mahi until just cooked through. Serve with salsa.


Using the IF Ratings

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